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One of 360: Paula S. '23

By Sandra Santana
As we approach the final stretch of the school year, One of 360 returns with Paula S. '23, a junior boarder from Helsinki, Finland! Read on to learn more about Paula’s passion for computer science, breaking into new sports, and what makes Ring Week so special.
On Home…

I was born and raised in Helsinki, Finland, which is where my family lives and where I go over breaks. My family consists of my mom, my dad, and my 15-year-old sister Tuuli. We also have a small poodle, Tepsu. 

On Emma…

Now that I think of it, I don’t remember how I first learned about Emma, but when I first visited in 2019, I was amazed by the beautiful campus. The thought of going to a boarding school was really appealing to me because I would get to live with my friends. What stood out to me about Emma was that it’s an all-girls school, whereas all schools are coed where I’m from. When I first arrived on campus in August 2021 to start as a new junior, I was greeted by smiling faces. What makes Emma so special for me is the tight and fairly small community. The amount of the opportunities I’ve had in this school are amazing.

On Computer Science…

I’ve recently become passionate about computer science. I’ve always been a fan of problem-solving, logic, and math. I had this thought of learning how to code in the back of my mind for a few years already, but I didn’t really know where to start until last year, when my previous high school offered credit for taking an introductory level coding class online. Computer Science isn’t a part of the Finnish high school curriculum, so the course I took was a university level one, and it turned out to be harder than I would’ve imagined. I was only able to finish half of the course, but I didn’t totally give up, though. Last semester, I decided to take AS Computer Science. For the first time, I had a teacher, classmates, and a high school course for this subject, which was really motivating for me. It’s definitely my favorite class I’ve ever taken! Now that there are no more high school coding classes available, I’m planning on giving online courses a new shot and doing some kind of signature project involving coding for next year!

On Diving…

I’m thinking of starting diving next fall. I did competitive gymnastics and cheerleading for over a decade, and I’m currently taking a ballet class here at Emma. One day, I decided to go to open swim, and a friend of mine asked if I wanted to try diving off the board, so I did. I had never gone diving before, but it came surprisingly naturally to me because of my previous hobbies. I really enjoyed flipping through the air after a long time of not doing so. Suddenly, I had the athletic director trying to get me to join the school’s swimming and diving team. So yeah, I’ll see if I can fit diving into my senior year schedule!

On Traditions…

So far, my favorite tradition has been the tradition of class rings, but I’m excited to see how Revels will go when I get to be a part of the play myself next year. Ring Dinner was a really special moment for me, as I got to spend time with the couple of seniors I was ring sisters with. Choosing someone as my ring sibling was an awesome way to show them how special they are to me. I’ll never forget the moment Sabrina A. ’22 put the shiny class ring on my finger after Avery D. ’22 had opened the box. What I love about the ring tradition is that it is shared by the junior and senior classes.

Thanks, Paula, for sharing your passions and contributing to the Emma Willard School community in unique and significant ways. We look forward to seeing the impact you will have as you continue to serve and shape our world!
    • Paula S. '23 at Ring Dinner with her Ring Sisters, Avery D. '22 and Sabrina A. '22!

    • Paula S. '23 and friends at Yosemite National Park during the California AWAY trip

    • Paula S. '23 and friends snow tubing this winter


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